After spending the night in Bowling Green, KY, and the next night in Macon, GA, we roll into Orlando. We’ve spent the last three days not riding in a convoy, and I can’t recommend this enough.

It relieves soooo much stress on the drivers. No one is driving too slow or too fast. No one is stopping too much or not enough. We agree to try to be in an area at the same time, but if we’re not, no big deal.

We nearly miss Toni and Maddie in Valdosta, and actually only get 2 minutes together before they’re off again.

I stop with Emma and Ben and pick up a Florida Toll SunPass. You stick it on the windshield of your car, and a little transponder chip inside tracks your car as you pass through tollways, deducting an amount from your account. I can’t recommend this enough either. The Florida Tollway is the fastest way to get from I-75 to Orlando, and this will save you several minutes. Of course, we use up the minutes saved by activating it by phone, but it’s still worth it.

Maddie and Erik disagree on the size of snake she saw
The snake was thiiiiiis big

We arrive at our vacation home about an hour after Toni and Maddie did. The three of us unload my car, and we sit for a few minutes to relax. It doesn’t matter that we’ve been sitting in a car all day, there’s something refreshing about flopping down on a couch and stretching our legs.

Maddie informs us that less than an hour after she arrived, she spotted a snake in the lawn. The same place Emma, Ben, and I had walked to unload the car. She and Toni swear up and down that it was a tiny snake, but I doubt it. There’s no such thing as a tiny snake in the same way there’s no such thing as “a little garlic.”

The Boathouse in Downtown Disney
The Boathouse in Downtown Disney. Their Gibson’s Burger is incredible.

After a while, we head over to Downtown Disney — now renamed Disney Springs — and get a “welcome home” dinner at The Boathouse, a restaurant owned by Gibson’s Steakhouse in Chicago. Since Toni has been to Gibson’s several times, we’re sure to make this a favorite place.

Thursday night is still column night, so when we get back, I have to write my column. I ran a reprint a couple weeks ago, so I can’t run another one. I write a brand new one, and throw in the phrase “you’ve got another think coming.” I wonder how many people are going to tell me it’s wrong (it’s not; Dick Wolfsie taught me that one and educated me about eggcorns).

In a few days, we’re going to start exploring the city, and find out where all the important places are — independent coffee shops, book stores, comic book stores, music stores.